Open officials admit weather could disrupt

OPEN Championship officials have admitted to genuine concerns that bad weather could undermine play throughout The Open after myriad bunkers were filled with standing water.

Ongoing rainfall has increased an already high water table level, and by extension a number of the course’s 206 bunkers, and the reality remains that further downpours will be a potential problem.

“Obviously the weather has caused us some problems, and perhaps some more to come,” said Jim McArthur, the chairman of golf’s governing body, the R&A championship committee.

“The course is at the moment perfectly playable thanks to the huge and time-consuming efforts of the greenkeeping staff. The greens are fine. They’re a bit soft and a bit slower than we’d probably like at this stage of the Championship.

“There are some bunkers which are causing us some concern because of the water table and the level of the groundwater, but we’re confident that the rules of golf will help us cope with any situations which develop there.

“Based on the course conditions, we’re not intending to play preferred lies. We’ll have some issues off the golf course with spectator walkways, which we’re dealing with at the moment, and these are gradually improving. And we’re really hoping that the improving weather forecast which we’ve been promised will take some of the pressure off and problems off the golf course.”

American great Tiger Woods has already described some areas of the course as “almost unplayable” but if his comments were expected to provoke significant action, the R&A’s chief executive Peter Dawson is considerably less concerned.

“When I came here 10 days ago it was much wetter then after the cloudburst than it is now,” Dawson said. “And two days later of good, drying weather you would think the golf course was in normal summer condition. It was very firm and there was no standing water anywhere. This course does dry extremely quickly I’m delighted to say. And the forecast is dry for the rest of the Championship.

“I think Tiger may have been taken somewhat out of context, given my discussions with him.”

SELECTED TEE TIMES

09:09 Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Zach Johnson
09:20 Lee Westwood, Yoshinori Fujimoto, Bubba Watson
09:42 Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia
14:21 Louis Oosthuizen, Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley
14:43 Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy
(First 06:30, last 16:11)